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Barite
Barite-83
Barite from Kings Creek, South Carolina. Specimen is approximately 4 inches (10 centimeters) across.
Uses Weighting agent in drilling muds, pigment in paints and as a weighted filler for paper and cloth. It is the primary ore of barium. Barite's high density makes it opaque to x-rays. If it is given to a patient as a drink or enema it can be used to image the shape of internal organs by x-ray
Color colorless, white, light blue, light yellow, light red, light green
Streak white
Luster vitreous
Diaphaneity transparent to translucent
Cleavage very good, basal, prismatic
Luster vitreous
Hardness 2.5 - 3.5
Specific Gravity 4.5
Distinguishing Characteristics high specific gravity, three cleavage directions at right angles, cleavage
Crystal System orthorhombic
Chemical Classification sulfate
Chemical Composition barium sulfate, BaSO4

Barite is a mineral that contains large amounts of barium. Barite is spelled Baryte in Britain. It is often found alongside hematite. The name "barite" comes from the Greek word "βαρύς" which means heavy. A mineral consisting of barium sulfate, it most often occurs in hydrothermal veins and as veins in limestones. It is a relatively inert mineral with a high density. It is the primary ore of barium. The most common use of barite is as a weighting agent in drilling muds.

Most barite produced is used as a weighting agent in drilling muds. These high density muds are circulated down the drill stem and return to the surface between the drill stem and the wall of the well. This action effectively flushes the cuttings produced by the drill and carries them to the surface. Barite is also used as a pigment in paints and as a weighted filler for paper and cloth. It is the primary ore of barium. Barite's high density makes it opaque to x-rays. If it is given to a patient as a drink or enema it can be used to image the shape of internal organs by x-ray.

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